Iran has played a substantial role as a major financial supporter of Hamas, offering crucial resources for its terrorist activities. However, international investigators, including those in the United States, have uncovered an alternative revenue stream used by Hamas: distant online contributors that provide support through crypto.
Even before the recent surprise attack by Hamas on Israel, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) had been actively pursuing a criminal inquiry into the militant group’s alleged use of crypto and money-laundering activities. While the details of the investigation remain sealed, the information that has been made public traces back to Hamas-linked crypto accounts recovered by U.S. law enforcement since 2020.
Private analysts have estimated that the cryptocurrency addresses linked to Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas, have collectively held millions of dollars in crypto. Hamas employs numerous fundraising methods, including posting crypto wallet addresses on social media platforms such as X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook.
The exact crypto amount received by the group remains uncertain, but reports suggest substantial sums have been accumulated. Between 2020 and 2023, Israeli authorities claim that addresses connected to the group received more than $40 million. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a militant partner of Hamas, allegedly held nearly $95 million, although it is unknown how much was directly owned by the organization.
Tracking these cryptocurrency funds is complicated due to Hamas’s use of single-use addresses and anonymous exchanges to convert crypto to cash.
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan stated that Iran has been a major source of funding for the military wing of Hamas but suggested no direct involvement in planning or directing attacks. The nation has provided up to $100 million a year to various Palestinian terrorist groups, including Hamas. It uses various tactics, including the use of precious metals, transactions obscured by high-ranking officials, and shell companies, to evade sanctions and fund these groups.
The group has been the target of financial investigations not only by government authorities but also by individuals seeking justice. The family of a victim murdered by Hamas has also been tracking the group’s assets. The Weinstock family, which obtained an $80 million legal judgment against Hamas in 2019, has been hoping to use the DOJ’s investigation as an opportunity to collect the money.
However, the case has faced repeated delays, with government lawyers seeking more time for a related criminal investigation to proceed. The judge issued a six-month stay on forfeiture proceedings, which is set to expire soon, leaving the Weinstock family frustrated and uncertain about the allocation of the forfeited settlement.
While entities such as Hamas may be using cryptos for illegal activities including funding their political/military agenda, it doesn’t take away the fact that cryptos and industry actors such as Stronghold Digital Mining Inc. (NASDAQ: SDIG) are revolutionizing the way the world works in the finance field and other industries.
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